Burns and Autoimmune Crises

For the better part of the last week, I’ve been fighting a nasty cold-with-low-grade-fever-type infection funk replete with not one but now two cold sores accompanying me on my lip and nose. To my mind, I’m in an autoimmune crisis right now. I’ve been to the endocrinologist who asked, “Do you think your thyroid levels might be low?” and to which I replied, “Well, I typically do not get this many cold sores when my thyroid levels are in the right range.” As far as autoimmune strength is concerned, I generally fare much better than others with really serious issues like rheumatoid arthritis (which my sister has) or juvenile diabetes (which my brother has). But look at just about any research and you’ll see that those who have suffered serious burns (like me) tend to have compromised immune systems of varying degrees. Growing up, I had what I considered to be more than my fair share of colds, bronchitis, strep throat and of course, mono (I was quarantined for two weeks) and a little psoriasis here and there (mostly on my elbow). Thyroid came later. All of which means that when I’m run down, I tend to get sick and stay sick longer than seems fair. In fairness, I can’t blame only the burn injury however much I would like to. But it’s another area where I wonder what affect those burns actually have had on me.

Many People Write About Burns

Cover of "The Burn Journals"

Cover of The Burn Journals

If you poke around, you’ll see (as I have) that many people write about burns. Recently I finished Burned: A Memoir (www.louisenayer.com), and was fascinated by this book because it describes the effect of a mother’s burn on her daughter. I contacted Louise to ask her some questions about why she wrote the book and we’ve developed a communication of sorts. Other books I need to explore include Burned But Not Broken (www.michaeljnolte.com), Nothing Left to Burn (www.jayvarner.com) and The Burn Journals (www.burnjournals.com).

I’m not sure if the world needs another burn memoir but I still want to publish mine and I realize even from this handful of books that my story is completely different than these. Every burn it seems is unique.

Talking with Relatives

Man with street organ and monkey on chain.

Image via Wikipedia

One of the most fascinating aspects of looking back in time is talking to my mother and father’s relatives. Memory is an interesting thing. So, apparently were the 1960s. Intuitively I think I knew that things were different for families in the 60s but mom’s cousin Verna told me today that ‘we dealt with the monkey rather than going to the organ grinder.”  There was a hesitancy to most everything back then — whether it was the idea of calling someone long distance or doing things against the grain. I was trying to figure out how, after the accident, I actually got to the hospital. My sister told me that mom called dad and had him drive home from the office to take me. Cousin Verna confirmed this possibility, “If it were me, I would have called [my husband] to come home from work. Remember, we dealt with the monkey so we would have hesitated to call the hospital and there probably wasn’t 911 back then.”

Have You Ever Been Burned?

Have you ever been burned by something in life?  Most of us have.  My burns were 3rd degree, which is severe but they didn’t get in the way of much that I wanted to do in life.  Yes, I was self-conscious and still am (my burns cover my legs, but mostly my right leg).  As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that everyone has some “burn” — whether it be visible or not, they are there for all of us.  My goal in writing this blog is to tell the story of how resolution found me.  It was not something I was looking for or thought I needed.  Yet when it came it was a wonderful blessing and I want to tell the story.